The Department is a rich and thriving centre for research across the music disciplines. We sustain a dual commitment to cutting-edge, contemporary creative practice in composition and performance and to critically aware scholarship couched in the written and the spoken word. Our work explores the qualities and character of human experience, offering solutions to real-life challenges and adding to the store of human imagination and knowledge. Extending across a wealth of conceptual, geographic, and historical fields and genres, the Department comprises Ireland’s most open-minded, stimulating, diverse and interdisciplinary environment for the study of music.

As creative and critically engaged artists and scholars, we are committed to:

(a)  developing and enriching the contribution that music and the arts makes to the region, to Ireland and internationally, and

(b)  exploring the qualities of human experience to generate solutions to real-life challenges and to add to the store of human knowledge.

To achieve this, we work in, across and between a broad set of disciplines and approaches. These include:

composing, which incorporates devising new music in performance as well as in advance of it, and ranges from writing music on a score to designing software or utilizing other interactive approaches to music production, such as the collection and manipulation of a wide range of pre-existing and newly imagined sounds;

performance – among other areas, our work currently embraces popular music, jazz, Irish traditional music and dance, Western art and church music from the Renaissance to the present day, music for Indonesian gamelan, and several kinds of experimental sound practice;

ethnomusicology, with recognized geographical specializations in music from China, England, Greece, India, Ireland, Indonesia and Taiwan, and theoretical focuses on applied ethnomusicology, archival work, orality/aurality, cognitive ethnomusicology, biography, indigeneity/native ethnomusicology, and music analysis;

music education, which includes studies of in-school and out-of-school teaching and learning in Ireland, music in early childhood, adult learning as part of the music profession in several cultural settings, creative pedagogical approaches to teaching and learning music, and the reshaping of the ways Irish traditional music is taught and acquired in the contemporary state; and

musicology – our research investigates the interplay between the sonic and the social in both historical and contemporary contexts. We focus on music's implications in gender, race, class, and other valences, applying a variety of methodological approaches to artefacts and performativities from Renaissance music to global hip hop; from 19th century parlour songs, to independent film music, to 1970s punk.

Each area is pursued dynamically and with rigour, and strongly underpinned by recent grant awards from funding bodies including the Arts Council of Ireland, Enterprise Ireland, the European Research Council, the Irish Research Council, the China Education Ministry and Music Generation.

Many staff are leaders in their respective research fields. We work alongside a team of research affiliates and research students, as well as in partnership with colleagues across the university, and we engage with the wider public across the city, region, nation and globe. Collectively, staff enjoy an international reputation for the impact and contribution of their research.

Selected recent staff research (books, articles, performances, compositions, etc.):

Michelle Finnerty. “Sounds from Within: Exploring the Role of Ethnographic Fieldwork to Elevate Children’s Perspectives and Voices in the Study of Children’s Musical Cultures in Ireland,” in Ilene R. Berson, Michael J. Berson, Collette Grey, eds., Participatory Methodologies to Elevate Children’s Voice and Agency, 383-403. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing, 2019.  further information

Emily Gale. “Stolen Youth: Orphan Songs and Abolition.” Journal of Popular Music Studies 33, no. 1 (2021): 42-49.  further information

Steven Gamble. How Music Empowers: Listening to Modern Rap and Metal. London: Routledge (2021).  further information

John Godfrey, as director of Quiet Music Ensemble. ‘Medytacjes’, Sacrum Profanum Festival, ICE Conference Centre, Krakow, Poland, 1 October 2017. David Toop, night leaves breathing (Polish premiere); Alvin Lucier, Shadow Lines (Polish premiere); Rishin Singh, Grisaille No. 1 (World Premiere); Jennifer Walsh, Dordán and An Gleacht (Polish premiere); Pauline Oliveros, The Mystery Beyond Matter (Polish premiere).  further information 

Alexander Khalil. “The Echoing Palimpsest: Singing and the Experience of Time at the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople,” in Nina Sun Eidsheim and Katherine Meizel, eds., The Oxford Handbook of Voice Studies, 345-361. Oxford: Oxford University Press (2019).  further information

Melanie Marshall (with Martin Iddon), co-editor. Beyoncé at Work, On Screen, and Online. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2020.  further information

Eva McMullan-Glossop, “Hues, Tints, Tones, and Shades: Timbre as Colour in the Music of Rebecca Saunders” Contemporary Music Review 36, no. 6 (2018), 488-529.  further information

Mary Mitchell-Ingoldsby. twas Tír na nÓg itself’: The Muckross Music Collection: Fieldwork in North Kerry 1980-1990,” Folk Life: Journal of Ethnological Studies 54/2 (2016): 132-161.  further information

Paul O’Donnell. 2017. Thin Lines, featuring Paul O’Donnell (piano, composer) with Niwel Tsumbu (guitar, percussion), Matthias Schriefl (trumpet), Nick Roth (sax), Thomas Gall (drums), Peter Erdei (bass). Cork: [CD] PD003.  further information

Lijuan Qian. “Music, Class and Talent Shows: Class Division and Overlaps in New Digital Popular Music Formats in China,” in Ian Peddie, ed., The Bloomsbury Handbook of Popular Music and Social Class, 525-542. New York: Bloomsbury, 2020.  further information

J. Griffith Rollefson. Critical Excess: Watch the Throne and the New Gilded Age. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2021.  further information

Jonathan Stock. Everyday Musical Life among the Indigenous Bunun, Taiwan. New York: Routledge, 2021.  further information

Jack Talty. “Duala”, a film-installation commissioned by The Irish Traditional Music Archive and Clare Arts Office, 18 September 2020 (Culture Night, Glór Theatre, Ennis). further information

Jeffrey Weeter. “Interlude for Prepared Piano”. Performed by Amy Williams on 4 November 2018 (Constellation, Chicago), 23 February 2019 (New Music festival, California State University Fullerton), and 21 March 2019 (Bowerbird, Philadelphia).  further information


Contact Details

Departmental Research coordinator:

            Jonathan Stock,



Department of Music

Roinn an Cheoil

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